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The history of one of the largest pharmacy cooperatives in the United States.

book icon showing the origin story of CPA
Fall 1993
The Great Lakes Story: CPA's Origin
CPA's Origin
CPA started in the fall of 1993 when four store owners asked former chain store executive Ed Heckman to meet with them. They discussed the benefits of purchase volume and Ed went to work creating a chain program for independent pharmacies. This was the start of Great Lakes Pharmacies.

Ed explained that chains have a defined book of business—number of stores, purchase volume—and they can commit that book of business to a vendor. Because they know exactly how much business will be won, vendors can sharpen their pencils. With buying groups however, vendors are never sure how much or how little business they will gain—plus they must sell the deal one-by-one to every store in the buying group.
Great Lakes Pharmacies Logo
Ed Heckman comes back with a plan
Ed Has a Plan

The second question the owners had was:

“Could Ed Heckman put together a chain program for independent pharmacies?”

Ed Heckman came back with a plan and in April 1994, the Health Mart owners decided to fund a six month trial to see if the compliant pharmacy chain concept would work.

That was the start of Great Lakes Pharmacies and 18 years later the history of success speaks for itself. Over time GLP spread to pharmacies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio.

Independent Pharmacies of America logo
Independent Pharmacies of America: A Second Group is Formed
Independent Pharmacies of America is Formed
During the first five years of operation the news of Great Lakes Pharmacies spread to colleagues in Georgia. A nucleus of Georgian independent store owners organized a meeting with Heckman to find out if a second compliant pharmacy group could be cloned from GLP. Soon, Independent Pharmacies of America became a reality as the second regional cooperative.

IPA grew from Georgia into Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia—and Idaho. We quickly found out that two groups held twice the power and leverage as one.
Phoenix Pharmacy Group logo
Garden State Pharmacy Owners Meet With Ed
Phoenix Pharmacy Group is Formed
Through a long term relationship of trust and respect with the executive director of the Garden State Pharmacy Owners (GSPO), Heckman honored a request to meet with six New Jersey independent pharmacy owners who voiced their vision of forming a buying group with chain clout. They were tired of getting pushed around by wholesalers.

Ed shared the success stories of Great Lakes Pharmacies and Independent Pharmacies of America. The six New Jersey owners cloned GLP and IPA and formed the Phoenix Pharmacy Group. Pharmacies from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts joined the Phoenix Pharmacy Group.
Lone Star Rx logo
Spring 2003
Lone Star Rx was Formed
Lone Star Rx was Formed
They scheduled a meeting on Super Bowl Sunday 2003 with Heckman and 25 Texas pharmacy owners. By the spring of 2003 Lone Star Rx was born, becoming the fourth clone to band together. Over the years Lone Star Rx attracted pharmacies in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska.

Carolina Pharmacies Unlimited logo
Summer 2003
Carolina Pharmacies Unlimited was Formed
Carolina Pharmacies Unlimited was Formed
When Ed Heckman returned to South Carolina in 2003 to present a HIPAA Privacy continuing education seminar to the members of the state pharmacy association, the same group of pharmacists asked to meet with him.

They informed Ed that they were ready and had formed another clone and wanted to begin recruiting pharmacies to join Carolina Pharmacies Unlimited (CPU). From South Carolina, CPU spread to North Carolina and recently to Montana.
Pharmacy Partners of America logo
Pharmacy Partners of America was Formed
Pharmacy Partners of America was Formed
A close alliance between a Lone Star Rx pharmacist in Texas and a pharmacy owner in Arkansas started the discussions of forming yet another clone based in Arkansas. Many Arkansas pharmacies had come together years earlier to form Heartland Pharmacies with the wholesaler Walsh. While successful in the beginning, when Walsh sold their interest to another wholesaler, the operation eventually dissolved.

Left without a viable supplier the former Heartland leadership met with Ed Heckman. They seized the opportunity and formed the sixth clone in 2006, Pharmacy Partners of Arkansas. Within a short time the buying group evolved into the Pharmacy Partners of America—and spread from Arkansas to Missouri, Mississippi and Louisiana.
High Plains Pharmacies Cooperative logo
Spring 2011
High Plains Pharmacies Cooperative was Formed
High Plains Pharmacies Cooperative was Formed
In the spring of 2011 the High Plains Pharmacies Cooperative was formed. To date pharmacies in Kansas and Nebraska have come together to grow HPP.

Compliant Pharmacy Alliance logo
March 2014
Eight Regions Become One Entity
Eight Regions Become One Entity
Early in 2014, the decision was made by the CPA Board of Directors to merge the eight separate regions into one entity under the Compliant Pharmacy Alliance banner. This unification allowed CPA to simplify management and reduce operating expenses - putting more money into our members pockets.

Compliant Pharmacy Alliance horizontal logo
CPA Continues to Lead the Industry and Grow Rapidly
CPA Leads the Industry and is Growing Fast
Today, CPA has more than 1,600 members across 42 states. Independent pharmacies have recognized the benefits that CPA provides its members:
  • Lower Cost of Goods by leveraging over 1,600 pharmacies
  • Reporting services to help pharmacies take advantage of generic pricing changes and better manage their inventory
  • Dedicated support staff to assist members
CPA has been able to grow rapidly through positive word of mouth from our members, enabling our members to grow and expand their businesses, and by leveraging our buying power to obtain a terrific deal on generics.
CPA will continue to work hard to provide the tools, resources, and information, to provide the best deals in the industry for independent pharmacy.

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